Archive for July 31, 2009

10 Free Web Conferencing Tools

We had earlier covered how telepresence helps to save cost. Similarly, virtual meetings too can save money and support environment by eliminating travel. Online presentations, meetings are now normal and pretty much every organization makes use of some form of virtual meeting on the internet. WebEx is one of the pioneer in Web Conference technology  and now it is part of Cisco. There are others like GoToMeeting, IBM Sametime etc that offer compelling features. But these services are expensive and small companies, group of people can not afford such higher premium price.

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Fortunately there are couple of Free (or much cheaper) alternatives to easy web conferencing tools that are equally packed with features. Here we list some of them. All of these work on multiple platforms like Windows, Mac and Linux.

Mikogo (Absolutely Free!)

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This one is just amazing, Mikogo is an easy-to-use cross-platform desktop sharing tool, ideal for free web conferencing, online meetings or remote support. And it’s FREE for both commercial and private use. The fact is, We weren’t even aware of! Until someone from Mikogo team added a comment below! Everything looks amazing but Linux support is missing altogether. Mac is mostly supported. So, Mikogo works good on Windows. We feel that it may soon support Linux and that would be a thing to wait! Anyways, Thanks to Mikogo for the all free meeting suit,  free web conferencing tool, it really helps. Website is very neat, features are plenty without limitation and that’s the reason why it is listed in the first place!

Features:

  1. Desktop Sharing (for Mac/Windows)
  2. Multiple Meeting Participants(for Mac/Windows)
  3. Switch Presenter(for Mac/Windows)
  4. Remote Keyboard and Mouse Control(for Mac/Windows)
  5. Meeting Scheduler(for Windows)
  6. Meeting Recording and Playback (for Windows)
  7. Whiteboard (for Windows)
  8. Transfer Files(for Mac/Windows)
  9. Application Selection(for Windows)
  10. Back Monitor(for Windows)
  11. Pointer(for Mac/Windows)
  12. Copy/Paste/Email Meeting Info(for Mac/Windows)
  13. Pause Transmission(for Mac/Windows)
  14. Voice Conferencing Service(for Mac/Windows)

Vyew (Free with Limited features)

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Vyew is a new and powerful platform for real-time and always on interaction between people and content. It is a great way to do free web conferencing and lets you have unlimited meetings, SSL Secure login, 10 real time participants and more.

Features:

  1. Browser based, No download is needed. It works on Windows, Mac as well as Linux.
  2. Hundreds of Active/Archived Meetings per User
  3. Flexible, PowerPoint-like Authoring
  4. All meeting content is auto-saved in real-time, always available to authorized users.
  5. Publish your meetings via direct URL or embedded in a webpage/email.
  6. Customizable interface with colors and your logo.
  7. Built-in Voice over IP )VoIP, Webcam and Free teleconferencing that use standard phones within the USA to call into a conference call system.
  8. and much more

Vyew is always free, but additional capacities and features exist for low monthly fees. Here is the pricing details.

OnWebinar (Free)

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OnWebinar is a free web conf service that allows you to organize distance learning, business meetings, online coaching, videoconferences and interactive communication. The service includes video broadcasting, private chat, public chat, shared resources area (whiteboard, slide show presentation, desktop sharing, files and links), polling tools, videoconferencing etc.

BigBlueButton (Free and Open Source)

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BigBlueButton is an active open source project that focuses on usability, modularity, and clean design — both for the user and the developer. The project is hosted at Google Code

DimDim (Unfortunately a paid service now after Salesforce acquisition)

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DimDim delivers synchronized live presentations, whiteboards and web pages while sharing your voice and video over the Internet – with no download.  It is a good Free commercial Web Conferencing solution for team of up to 20 with features like,

  1. Browser based, It works on Windows, Mac as well as Linux.
  2. Share and Present documents
  3. Share Computer Screens, WebPages
  4. Share microphones (up to 4 people for Free)
  5. Share whiteboards
  6. Built-in VoIP support and more…

DimDim is capable and unofficially known as an alternative to WebEx that can really save money on Pro accounts. However, DimDim gained faster publicity by going open source, referred to as a free/cheaper alternative to WebEx. Apparently, they had a cynical plan to get sold for a quick bucks :)

Yugma (Free with Limited features)

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Yugma offers free, pro and enterprise service for desktop sharing, web conferencing, online meetings, and web collaboration for Mac, Windows, and Linux users. Yugma has solutions for individuals, organizations, and small or large businesses. Yugma is perfect for web conferencing, online meetings, webinars, web meetings, web collaboration, desktop sharing, sales presentations, online training, and remote support. Yugma for Skype is also available and provides instant desktop sharing and interactive collaboration tools for Skype users. Yugma is free web conferencing solution with limited features.

Features:

  1. Yugma Free allows 20 attendees host a meeting (premium versions support up to 500 attendees)
  2. Desktop Sharing
  3. Free Teleconferencing
  4. Public and Private Chat
  5. Customizable Widget
  6. Works on Windows, Mac and Linux
  7. Skype Integration

Adobe ConnectNow (Free with Limited features)

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Adobe ConnectNow, one of the Acrobat.com services, is a great way to share ideas, discuss details, and complete work together — all online. Reduce travel costs, save time, and increase productivity with a web conferencing solution that’s easy to access and simple to use.  Use screen sharing, chat, notes, audio, and video to conduct meetings online that can be as interactive and productive as in-person meetings. Adobe ConnectNow is free web conferencing solution with limited features.

Features:

  1. Screen sharing
  2. Whiteboards
  3. Remote control
  4. Integrated audio choices
  5. Meeting URL
  6. Video conferencing and more…

YuuGuu (Free with Limited features)

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Yuuguu offers cross network instant messaging, instant screen sharing, real time collaboration, free web conferencing and remote support. YuuGuu Free is good for starters with Screen Sharing support up to 5 participants and features like;

  1. Integrated chat and real time collaboration
  2. Screen sharing in real time
  3. High Quality Global Audio Conferencing

YuuGuu has premium paid versions too that support more features.

OpenMeetings (Free)

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OpenMeetings, an Open Source Free Web Conferencing tool that is worth trying. It supports a lot of features…

Features:

  1. Video/Audio
  2. See Desktop of any participant
  3. Whiteboard with drawing, write & edit, dragNDrop, Resizing, Images (DragNDrop from Library), Symbols
  4. Safe/export Drawings from whiteboard and load it next time, edit and resave
  5. Document Importing
  6. Send invitation and direct links into a conference room
  7. LDAP-Connector
  8. Remote SOAP-Gateway for Single Sign On, integration and remote administration
  9. Moderating System, User-/Organisation-/Moderating- System
  10. Private and Public (Organisation only) Conference-Rooms

WebHuddle (Free)

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WebHuddle (free web conferencing tool) makes it easy to meet with the people you need to, when you need to — all it takes is a web-enabled PC and something to say. Using WebHuddle, you have options and flexibility. Meetings can be conducted either in conjunction with an enterprise’s existing teleconferencing service, or utilizing WebHuddle’s optional voice over IP. WebHuddle also offers recording capabilities — presentations can easily be recorded for playback over any web browser for those who missed the live meeting. WebHuddle is Open Source.

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Shape Collage – Create Cool Collages In Just Three Clicks

Like you have fun with photos by creating Fake Magazines, you can create cool collages in just few clicks.

Shape Collage is a free automatic tool for creating picture collages in any shape in less than a minute with just a few mouse clicks. Shape Collage creates collages using a patent pending intelligent algorithm. It automatically places the photos in the collage and can arrange the photos to form different shapes. Best is that it lets you save the collage as an Adobe Photoshop PSD file and you an edit the collage afterwards in Photoshop or GIMP.

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Shape Collage creates a collage by taking a bunch of photos and moving them around on a page so that they form a shape. It uses a very fast patent pending method to arrange the photos in the collage. It does a pretty good job. The basic idea is to throw a bunch of photos on a page and then, as you would if you did this with physical photos, spread the photos out so that they are as far apart as possible, while still staying inside of the shape. At first, the photos move around a lot, but then as the arrangement gets better, smaller adjustments are needed. The end result is a unique arrangement of the photos within the collage and no two collages are the same!

Three easy steps to make a collage


Step 1: Add Photos by just dragging photos or a folder of photos and dropping into the photo box

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Step 2: Click Create and the collage will be created automatically

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Step 3: Your collage is done!

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You can add different shape by choosing a heart shape, spell a word, use a symbol, or draw your own shape!

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The Key Features of Shape Collage include:

1. Automatic, fast, and easy

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2. Any shape

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3. You’re in control

  • You can adjust the collage size, size of the photos, number of photos, and spacing between photos
  • You can change the background, the colour of the border, and more
  • You can save as JPEG, PNG, or Photoshop PSD

4. You can add photos from webpage by just entering the link to a webpage with photos to use them in a collage

Best of all, its free without any catch. No ads, viruses, spyware, stds, trial periods, or watermarks.

So just go ahead and download!

Checkout some Shape Collage on Flickr and try your own.

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Create Powerful Presentations With VUE

We had featured PersonalBrain from TheBrain in our previous posts. We have featured more than 20 free Mind Mapping tools and online collaborative Mind Mapping tools. Here is yet another creative concept mapping framework called VUE – Visual Understanding Environment for managing and integrating digital resources in support of teaching, learning, presenting and research.

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What is VUE?

Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) is a concept and content mapping application, primarily developed to support teaching, learning and research and for anyone who needs to organize, contextualize, and access digital information. It is an open source concept mapping tool based out of Tufts University, licensed under the Education Commons License.

With the help of a simple set of tools and a basic visual grammar that consists of nodes and links, faculty and students can map relationships between concepts, ideas and digital content. Although originally developed with a focus on educational needs, VUE has grown to be used by people in many organizations working on engineering, graphic design, creative problem solving, construction, writing, and more.

Concept mapping is not new to the educational field. The benefits of concept mapping as a learning tool have been documented by over 40 years of cognitive science research. VUE introduced the melding of the map with presentation tools, allowing people to move forward from the linear nature of traditional slide paradigms to a more flexible model which allows presenters to walk their maps in dynamic and visually controlled manner.

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What are VUE digital resources?

Resources are little “plug-ins” that can be added to the VUE Resources window to search a variety of digital sources directly from within VUE. Resources can be easily added to the VUE resource window by click of a button.

The resources include:

  • Fedora
  • Flickr
  • JStor
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  • PubMed (NCBI)
  • Sakai
  • Summize Twitter Search
  • Wikipedia (searched by Yahoo)
  • Yahoo

Other resources can be added by adding/importing RDF files.

VUE Key Features

Sharing and presenting information are important aspects of both academic work and business work. By using the two important tools, Interactive Zoom tools and the Pathways, it allows the presenters to walk-through the information in a more visual-interactive way.

By using VUE’s interactive zoom tool, authors may quickly zoom any node to full-screen mode with a single click. The Pathways allows you to create custom “trails” through nodes in your map and it permits construction of interactive presentations. VUE’s pathways feature allows presenters to create annotated trails through their maps.

There is an excellent Quick Time Video presentation that explains how powerful the VUE tools are and shows how it empowers the presenter to gather, analysis and share knowledge via linear and non-linear presentations.

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For a complete list of features and videos, check the Visual Understanding Environment site.

Download and try the software by Signing up.

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Map Your Brain With PersonalBrain

We had reviewed more than 20 Mind Mapping software in our previous articles.  Mind Mapping is a useful tool that improves the way you take notes and supports a creative problem solving. A best Mind Map is the one that utilizes the fullest extent of imagination and visualization. Most of us have always tried ways to organize documents, web pages, emails etc. all the methods we have used so far organizes them in a very straightforward way and not in the way we think of them. While, Tony Buzan developed Mind Map as he was frustrated because the traditional notes taking method, TheBrain has developed PersonalBrain, a software that lets you organize things the way you think, defeating the traditional way or organizing them.

Brain

Image Source: http://www.asu.edu

PersonalBrain helps you organize all your Web pages, contacts, documents, emails and files in one place so that you can always find them – just like you think of them. This saves you time and makes your life lot easier! With PersonalBrain you can even find related items that you worked on, but forgot existed.

PersonalBrain

What makes PersonalBrain more attractive?

It lets you think more clearly by:

  • Enabling you to link items associatively
  • Providing information context and meaning
  • Using an intuitive visual interface

It Lets you work more effectively by:

  • Interacting with your existing files and software
  • Locating data faster and easier
  • Eliminating the confusion of files and folders
  • Reducing irrelevant information
  • Creating networks of information effortlessly

Lets you navigate more efficiently by:

  • Providing instant search takes you to the right information immediately
  • Organizing files and Web pages by concept and idea
  • Letting you backtrack and see your train of thought with the past thought list

What are the key uses of PersonalBrain?

  • Creative bookmark manager for your URLs
  • Visual Interface for organizing files and folders
  • Capturing expertise and special Interests
  • Product development
  • Research and analysis
  • Planning an event
  • Brainstorming and Mind Mapping
  • Innovation
  • Presenting and capturing your vision and ideas
  • Visualizing and tracking people network
  • Network management
  • Website planning and site navigation

Using PersonalBrain, you can create and share a context-rich information environment that reflects the way you think. Try it now with a free download.

Tweet# – A complete C# wrapper for Twitter APIs

Hello Twitter API! So, so many out there are fiddling with Twitter APIs, getting their handy dirty to provide more and more innovative Twitter clients. or Are they really getting their hand dirty? :) Well, May be and may be not because there are so many wrappers for Twitter APIs. Tweet# (TweetSharp) is a complete .NET library for microblogging platforms that allows you to write short and sweet expressions that convert automatically to web queries and fly to Twitter on your behalf.

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TweetSharp is actively developed by Dimebrain, licensed under the MIT License, with source code hosted on Google Code.

A lot of examples are also present here that will give a good overview of Tweet#.

Some examples,

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There are other Twitter C# wrapper options like, Yedda C# library, Twitterizer, LinqtoTwitter etc. So, the bottom-line is, If you want to write a C# based client for Twitter, then it

is not that messy! Thanks to all these wrappers.

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